“Use What You Got to Get What You Want”: Why Beautiful People Are Making More Money & Getting Ahead

October 16, 2013  |  

Since we were children people have reiterated the cliché that looks aren’t everything; what’s on the inside is what really counts. But in the workplace this actually might not ring true.

When it comes to your career, the genes passed on by your mom and dad could be the difference between sitting next to the copy room and sitting in a corner office. According to LinkedIn, there is substantial research to support the theory that more attractive men and women tend to earn more than those with average looks. Not only do they earn more, but they get hired sooner, are promoted faster, and sell more.

Author Daniel Hamermesh has dedicated an entire book to the subject entitled Beauty Pays: Why Attractive People Are More Successful, proving through his research that more attractive people earn on average between three and four percent more than those with modest looks.

He attributes these numbers to the notion that attractive people have more desirable personality traits like higher self-confidence, which appeals to employers. He writes, “Beauty may just reflect self-esteem. Perhaps people’s self-confidence manifests itself in their behavior, so that their looks are rated more highly, and their self-esteem makes them more desirable and higher-paid employees.” He continues, “Another possibility is that beauty and the attractiveness of one’s personality are positively related, and that it is the general sparkle of one’s personality, not one’s beauty, that increases earnings.”

I think I would have to agree with the author that it’s not necessarily your looks that get you the job, but the residual confidence that stems from having good looks that does the trick. Whether you’re on the upper or lower end of the beauty spectrum, we have all had days where we know we are working it and are more confident compared to those days when we are self-conscious. I know for myself, on the days that I feel I am looking like a million bucks and at my most confident, I’m a people magnet. I’m cracking jokes, working the room, smiling every chance I get. And on the days when the location is an interview or networking event I am absolutely at my best.

When I didn’t have long to get ready, when I was building up a wardrobe of decent threads, my edges were looking rough, and I didn’t keep my bi-weekly manicure appointment, I was generally more of a wall flower waiting for people to approach me. I try never to make this the case for a job interview, so I can’t comment on that, but I can imagine what showing up looking disheveled could do to your confidence in important situations.

Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. And at the end of the day, looks count only in the sense that the better you think you look the more confident you are about yourself. So if you have a face only a mother could love, you could still perform just as well in your career as those born into beauty, just by truly loving yourself, being good to yourself and being just as confident as anyone else.

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